00:03   When you're a little kid, you get spoken to as, well, a little kid.
00:09   "Hi! How are you today?" and "You're doing so great, keep it up!" they say. And, when you grow up and become more aware of the world and you surroundings, you begin to be spoken to as a young adult.
00:32   But what if you were spoken to as a little kid even if you grow?
00:39   How would you feel if your own classmates -- those who go to the same school with you and attend the same classes as you -- but you're just not spoken to or treated equally? How would that make you feel? How would you truly feel if, all your life, you were left alone to prove yourself to others?
01:07   Those are the questions and decisions that I have to make every single day of my life, and the decision to either speak up for myself and not let others talk to me or belittle me, or just say, "You know what? It's okay. I'll put it off until tomorrow. It's okay, they might not even know what they're doing."
01:33   And, as a physically-challenged individual here at PW, I experience more diverse, daily challenges each day that many other of you [sic] -- many of you might not have yourself.
01:57   For reference, at the age of three years old, I was diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which basically means that I don't -- I am unable to walk as well as most of you. And I was diagnosed on the clear signs that I wasn't meeting milestones that a typical baby would meet such as sitting up, standing, walking, etc. And, so I began to use a walker for balance and for everyday transport, and for longer distances such as going to the mall or a park, I will use either a manual wheelchair or a motorized scooter. And on a safe and secured area, I am able to walk independently without support.
03:06   And with a walker or wheelchair comes fixed stereotypes.
03:16   The idea that these four wheels surrounding me must signify that I am incapable of basic interaction, and what I mean by that is people will come up to me and just praise me for every good thing that I did -- I mean, not good, but -- and I began to notice this around the age of 12 when I entered middle school.
03:52   Sorry [experiencing technical difficulties].
04:02   I began to realize that around sixth grade when I began to be more aware of how I was being treated.
04:11   Now, we always talk about and we always are exposed to the idea that we must treat everyone with respect and equality and everyone must be nice to each other. But sometimes, nice does not always -- [equivalent] to equal.
4:32  And, I suppose I'm referring to the idea or the name that my mom and I gave, "the high five girls" which do exactly as the name suggests: they give me a high five for every accomplishment I made. And I began to slowly realize that I was being talked down to, and people didn't see me as equal.
5:08  For perspective, and, I mean, many of you probably don't understand, suppose you entered a bank and wanted to [make] a deposit. You know, it was just an everyday chore of yours. But once you got up to the
Back to Top